Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan - Creating Value for All: Community-Based Tourism
Tourism is a rapidly growing industry throughout the world. It can contribute to poverty alleviation through creating new jobs and providing entrepreneurial opportunities for people from a variety of backgrounds, skills and experiences. Community-based tourism – a type of tourism that is owned and managed by the local community, has emerged as a mechanism to facilitate tourism activities in many developing countries, including Kyrgyzstan, whose government also recognizes tourism as a promising economic sector.
Community-based tourism (CBT) was introduced to Kyrgyzstan by the Swiss Association for International Cooperation, Helvetas, and was well supported by local communities. The first CBT group was established in May 2000 in Kochkor village (hereinafter CBT Kochkor) and since then the number of CBT organizations has grown to eighteen. The main objective of CBT groups in Kyrgyzstan is to promote sustainable Community-based ecotourism services that offer tourists unique experiences, generate incomes for rural families and preserve the natural and cultural heritage of the country. Among the services that CBT groups provide to tourists and tour operators are booking services for home-stays, yurtas/jailoo tourism and trekking, guided tours of cultural and historic sights, handicraft demonstrations and sales, car rentals and miscellaneous tourist information. The provision of these services is the main source of income for individual service providers and CBT groups.